New York State has a plan to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in our state by the year 2020 and provides many ideas about steps you can take to avoid contracting HIV:
- Talk to your doctor or go to a clinic to get an HIV test.
- Talk to your health care provider about whether pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is right for you. PrEP is a treatment regimen that is over 90% effective in preventing HIV infection.
- Practice safer sex if you have more than one sexual partner, or you don’t know your partner’s HIV status.
- If you have HIV, get treatment to stay healthy and prevent transmission to others.
- Talk to your children about HIV prevention.
HIV Prevention Medications
The medications PrEP and PEP are highly effective at stopping new HIV infections. Used in combination with condoms, regular HIV testing, and open discussions with sexual partners, PrEP and PEP can greatly reduce a person’s chance of becoming infected.
The first, called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP, is a combination of medications taken in one pill every day to help HIV-negative people stay negative.
Is PrEP Right for You?
Those who may want to consider PrEP include:
- People in a relationship with an HIV-positive partner
- People who don’t regularly use condoms when having sex
- People who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past six months
- Anyone who has shared equipment when injecting drugs
Is PEP Right for You?
The second option, called post-exposure prophylaxis or PEP, is used only in an emergency when you realize you may have been exposed to HIV. PEP involves taking a short course of drugs, usually for a month, after possible exposure.
Act fast if you think you have been exposed to HIV. The medical experts at Amida Care say you should contact your health care provider or hospital emergency room within 72 hours if there is any chance you are at risk. Situations that require immediate action include:
- a leaky condom during sex with an HIV-positive partner
- anal sex without a condom with a partner who is either HIV positive or whose status is unknown
- sexual assault
- sharing drug-injection needles with someone who is either HIV positive or whose status is not known
For More Information
For more information, talk to your doctor and check out trusted government websites, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Find an HIV testing site or HIV services near you.
Amida Care can help. Amida Care is a Special Needs Health Plan (SNP) that provides comprehensive health coverage, at little or no cost, for Medicaid-eligible New Yorkers who qualify for our Live Life Plus plan. Confidential answers are available at 1-855-GO-AMIDA (1-855-462-6432) (TTY 711).